Summary Copyright Decisions

Summary Of Recent Copyright Severance Decisions

 July 14, 2013

Malibu Media, LLC v. John Doe Subscriber Assigned IP Address,  2013 WL 3753436 (D.Colo. 2013)

Severance denied by Court which explained:

On balance, the Court finds that the information sought in subpoena is both relevant and necessary to Plaintiff’s interest in vindicating its valid copyrights through this litigation and the discovery sought herein. Defendant’s First Amendment right to anonymous file sharing is too slight to overcome this interest. Therefore, the Sony Music factors support enforcement of the subpoena.

July 9, 2013

Killer Joe Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-12,  2013 WL 3458197 (N.D.Ohio 2013)

Killer Joe Nevada, LLC v. Does 1-192013 WL 3458214 (N.D.Ohio 2013)

Severance issued sua sponte by Court which explained:

Plaintiff has not alleged facts to support the joinder of the 84 John Doe Defendants based on the Rule 20 factors. As noted above, Rule 20 requires that the rights asserted against defendants arise out of the same factual transaction, and that any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action. Courts are split on the issue of joinder in BitTorrent copyright litigation, with some finding it proper in certain circumstances, FN28 and others not.FN29 For the reasons below, this Court adopts the latter approach.

July 01, 2013

Riding Films, Inc. v. John Does 129-193, 2013 WL 3322221 (S.D.Ohio 2013)

Severance denied by Court which explained:

Here, the Complaint alleges that the Doe defendants used the BitTorrent protocol to join together in a “swarm” in order to illegally download copyrighted material. Complaint, ¶ 5. More specifically, the Complaint alleges that the unidentified defendants all violated the same law (17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.) in the same series of transactions (downloading and distributing the same file, Dawn Rider) by using the same means (the BitTorrent protocol). Id. at ¶ 11. According to plaintiff, “[t]he infringed work was included in one file related to the torrent file; in other words, all of the infringements alleged in this lawsuit arise from the exact same unique copy of Plaintiff’s movie as evidenced by the cryptographic hash value.” Id. The unknown defendants’ alleged wrongful acts occurred in the same series of transactions or occurrences because each defendant downloaded and/or distributed, or offered to distribute Dawn Rider to other infringers on the network who in turn downloaded and/or distributed this movie. Id. Plaintiff therefore believes that the unidentified defendants “each conspired with other infringers on the BitTorrent network to copy and/or distribute the Motion Picture, either in the same transaction or occurrence or in a series of transactions or occurrences.” Id.

Construing the terms “transaction” and “occurrence” broadly, see Lasa Per L’Industria Del Marmo Societa Per Azioni v. Alexander, 414 F.2d at 147, and keeping in mind that joinder is strongly encouraged, see United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 724, this Court concludes that plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to satisfy the “same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences” requirement at this preliminary stage of proceedings. See, e.g., Third Degree Films, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87891, at *29–33; Patrick Collins, Inc. v. Doe, 286 F.R.D. 319, 321–22 (E.D.Mich.2012).

June 27, 2013

Guava, LLC v. Does 1-5, 2013 WL 3270663 (N.D.Ill. 2013)

Guava’s request for expedited discovery is denied:

Guava contends that there is a need for expedited discovery to issue subpoenas to the ISPs so that Guava may identify the responding Defendant as well as all other Doe Defendants. However, Guava is vague in explaining the underlying purpose of the expedited discovery it seeks and fails to draw a clear connection between the process of issuing the subpoenas and identifying and naming the infringing parties. Guava appears more concerned with obtaining the identities of the Doe Defendants than it is with providing proper notice through service of process: “Guava … requests … immediate discovery … to determine the identities of the Doe Defendants and their co-conspirators” (Pl.’s Appl. at 1); “Guava has a need for expedited discovery of the identities of Doe Defendants and their co-conspirators …,” ( Id. at 5); “[T]he present lawsuit simply cannot proceed without discovering the identities of the Defendants and their co-conspirators.” ( Id . at 6.)


 Guava’s request is also overly broad. The expedited discovery will lead to the discovery of the account subscribers but not necessarily the actual infringers, as any number of people could be using the IP address to hack into Guava’s protected websites. See, e.g., Hard Drive Prods., 2012 WL 1094653 at *3 (citation omitted) (“The named ISP subscriber may or may not be the infringer, as Guava acknowledges by saying that it may need to take further discovery even after it locates the subscribers whose IP addresses appeared in the swarm.”).

 Guava also has not properly supported its contention that the ISPs will erase the account subscribers’ information. Guava has not presented any evidence of the specific practices of the ISPs associated with the Doe Defendants’ IP addresses. See, e.g., Quad Intl., Inc. v. Does 1–6, No. 2:12–cv–2631 LKK KJN, 2013 WL 142865, at *3 fn. 6 (finding that Guava’s forensic investigator made unsupported and overgeneralized declarations about the short lengths of time that various ISPs preserve subscribers’ account information). Guava has therefore failed to make a prima facie showing of its need for expedited discovery.

Summary Of Recent Copyright Severance Decisions
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